27 Years in Prison and No Parole

A Harris County man was recently released from prison after spending 27 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit after DNA evidence cleared him of aggravated sexual assault. The case received quite a bit of publicity. This was due to the injustice that the man endured and the length of time he spent he prison.

However, no one in the media reported the fact that the man had spent all that time in prison without  receiving parole. There is a misconception in the general public that those convicted of felonies and sent to prison, only serve a small fraction of time and are released. I believe that this leads juries to punish defendants with greater sentences because they mistakingly believe felony convicts will be released early.
Under the parole law at the time of the man’s conviction he was required to do one-third of the time and not more than 20 years before he was eligible for parole. The man was sentenced to 75 years in prison. Under that law after 20 years he would have been eligible to be released under parole supervision. Obviously he was not paroled and an additional 7 years passed and still no parole. He was only released after old evidence was tested which proved his innocence. 
Under the current parole law he would have to do half of his sentence but not more than 30 years before he was even eligible for parole and his case demonstrates that after 30 years he would likely not parole the first time he is eligible. 
The truth is if  someone is serving time for a violent or sexual offense he will end up doing the majority of his sentence. 

4-20 not celebrated in Houston

I talked to a buddy that mentioned that he celebrated 4/20 (National Smoke Out Day).  This is a day for marijuana smokers to celebrate.  He thought since I was defense attorney in Houston, Texas I must know where people go for such things.  He was way off base on that one. I had to inform him that people in states like California where smoking marijuana is legal may publicly smoke, but this is not celebrated in Houston, Texas where marijuana possession is illegal.  I do not know one person in Texas that celebrated National Smoke Out Day.  Perhaps, one day Texans will be able to join in on the fun of this day.

What is the Highest Blood Alcohol Level You Have Seen?

Since I have been a DWI attorney in Houston for over ten years I have seen a fair share of high blood alcohol results. The highest one that I represented was .4. I could not believe it when I ran across
this story where a woman’s blood-alcohol level registered at an unbelievable amount of .7, which if my math is correct is at least eight times the legal limit in Texas. I would be curious to see how she appeared on video.